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Redshift: The Latest Architecture and News

Zaha Hadid: Maker of the 21st Century

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Respect: Architect Zaha Hadid, Queen of the Curve."

In March 2016, when world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid died of a heart attack at age 65 in a Miami hospital, the news sent shockwaves through the architecture community.

The flamboyant British designer—born on October 31, 1950 in Iraq, educated in Beirut, and known as the “Queen of the Curve” for her swooping, elegantly complex designs—was a legend in her time. She had design commissions around the world, been awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2004 and the Royal Institute of British Architects’ gold medal in 2016, and transcended the old-guard strictures of a staunchly male-dominated profession.

© MIR KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre) / Zaha Hadid Architects . Image © Hufton + CrowCourtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects520 West 28th / Zaha Hadid Architects . Image © Hufton + Crow+ 18

Using Architecture to Create a New Civic Movement: SHoP's Chris Sharples Speaks

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "SHoP's Chris Sharples on Urban Architecture, Digital Fabrication, and the Public Realm."

Twin brothers Chris and Bill Sharples are two of the founding partners of SHoP Architects, a New York-based firm established 20 years ago to bring together diverse expertise in designing buildings and environments that improve the quality of public life.

The firm’s style is difficult to define, but a connective thread throughout SHoP’s portfolio is a design philosophy rooted in constraints. From digital models to next-generation fabrication and delivery techniques, technology is at the center of the firm’s movement toward an iterative approach that, as Chris Sharples says, “is beginning to blur the line between architecture and manufacturing.”

Courtesy of SHoP Architects© SHoP Architects and West8© Bruce DamonteCourtesy of SHoP Architects+ 8

Mind the Gap: Minimizing Data Loss Between GIS and BIM

An unfortunate fact of the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry is that, between every stage of the process—from planning and design to construction and operations—critical data is lost.

The reality is, when you move data between phases of, say, the usable lifecycle of a bridge, you end up shuttling that data back and forth between software systems that recognize only their own data sets. The minute you translate that data, you reduce its richness and value. When a project stakeholder needs data from an earlier phase of the process, planners, designers, and engineers often have to manually re-create that information, resulting in unnecessary rework. 

How to Bring Construction into the Future

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "The 4 Forces That Will Take on Concrete and Make Construction Smart."

When it comes to building a bridge, what prevents it from having the most enduring and sustainable life span? What is its worst enemy? The answer is, simply, the bridge itself—its own weight.

Built with today’s construction processes, bridges and buildings are so overly massed with energy and material that they’re inherently unsustainable. While concrete is quite literally one of the foundations of modern construction, it’s not the best building material. It’s sensitive to pollution. It cracks, stains, and collapses in reaction to rain and carbon dioxide. It’s a dead weight: Take San Francisco’s sinking, leaning Millennium Tower as an example.

Modern, smart construction can and will do better. A convergent set of technologies will soon radically change how the construction industry builds and what it builds with.

Why Stadiums Made of Wood Could Be the Next Big Innovation in Sports Architecture

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Could Modular Wood Stadium Construction Be a Game Changer?"

Imagine a sports stadium that could expand and contract with its fan base and team’s fortunes, one that could pick up and move to greener (and more lucrative) pastures.

Given team owners’ history of playing fans against each other, making stadiums more mobile isn’t likely to give pennant-wavers a sense of security, but the concept is an incredible breakthrough for building technology. Endlessly modular and made of ultralow-impact mass timber, this vision of low-carbon construction, conceived by engineered-wood manufacturer Rubner Holzbau and prefabricated stadium designer Bear Stadiums, could soon materialize at a soccer pitch near you.

This Company Is Using Prefabrication to Rapidly Deliver Huge Numbers of Buildings in India

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Can Prefab Construction Meet Infrastructure Needs in India? KEF Infra Thinks So."

At KEF Infra One—a prefabrication plant outside of Krishnagiri, India—houses, cafeterias, and hospitals roll off an assembly line, as do the premade doors, windows, bathroom fixtures, and furniture to be installed within them. It’s a one-stop shop that makes building a house as easy as buying the food, dishes, and cookware for a family dinner in one fell swoop at Target.

The demands on infrastructure in India are huge. Given the country’s decentralization and its building trades’ reliance on manual labor, this level of modular building integration has been a far-off dream across all sectors. KEF Infra says it’s the only such facility in the world, integrating design, engineering, and fabrication to assemble building kits that provide far more than four walls and a roof, right out of the box.

Co-Living, Custom-Order Homes, and Creative Economies: Is This the Future of High-Density Housing?

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Customizable Communities Could Be the Key to the Future of Urban Housing."

London has a fascinating history of urbanization that stretches back to Roman settlement in 43 AD. During the Industrial Revolution and Victorian Era, the city’s population peaked, as did its problems related to population density. The air was filled with soot and smoke, crowded slums were the norm in the inner city, and cholera and other epidemics spread quickly due to inadequate sanitation.

These conditions gave rise to modern urban planning and public-health policy, which now must define what “good density” might look like in the future of urban housing. The UN predicts that by 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population will live in metropolitan areas, up from 54 percent today.

5 Tech Innovations to Help Manage Project Data and Create New Ways of Designing

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication under the title "5 Technology Innovations Can Help Your Architecture Practice Work Smarter."

Before airplanes, it took mail carriers on horseback months to transport letters across the country. Before washing machines, it took a full day of physical exercise to wash and dry a family’s laundry. And before cranes, it took decades—sometimes centuries—to build large structures such as castles and cathedrals.

The point being: Whatever you do, technology probably gives you a better way to do it.

How Sou Fujimoto Promotes Community By Uniting Seemingly Opposite Elements

This article was originally published by Redshift as "Architect Sou Fujimoto Has Radical Ideas for Familiar Communal Spaces."

The destruction wrought upon Ishinomaki by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami damaged the city’s civic hall and cultural center beyond repair. To rebuild, Ishinomaki City wanted to create a landmark combining these two facilities into a new complex—one that would be like a city unto itself, serving the community.

In 2016, design proposals were screened in a process that included public presentations, with many locals participating. In the end, Sou Fujimoto, a leader among the next generation of Japan’s architects, was selected for his innovative design.

Will Carbon Fiber Revolutionize Architecture as Steel Did in the 19th Century?

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Could Carbon Fiber Be the Superhero of Building Materials?"

On any weekday, Chicago’s downtown business district, the Loop, teems with harried humans crossing the street like herds of wild antelope fleeing a predator. Most scurry past the Field Building without considering its significance—or that of the historic building demolished in 1931 on the same site: the Home Insurance Building. Built in 1884, it was the first tall building erected on a frame made of structural steel—a light, affordable, and durable material that allowed structures to be built taller, stronger, and faster than those made of wood or stone.

Soon, Architects Will Be Able to Create 3D Models From Inside Their VR Headset

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Next-Gen Virtual Reality Will Let You Create From Scratch—Right Inside VR."

The architecture and manufacturing industries are about to undergo a radical shift in how they make things. In the near future, designers and engineers will be able to create products, buildings, and cities in real time, in virtual reality (VR).

In predicting VR’s dramatic evolution, an analogy to early cinematic history is apt: As one legend has it, when the motion-picture camera first came out, actors were filmed on a set, in front of fake trees. Then someone said, “Why don’t you just put the camera in the forest?” Simple, but game-changing. VR technology is already available, and it’s only a matter of time before it is used to its full potential.

The Cutting-Edge Materials Science Making Hurricane-Proof Construction Possible

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Hurricane-Proof Construction Methods Can Prevent the Destruction of Communities."

The four hurricanes that slammed into heavily populated areas from the Caribbean to Texas this summer are inching toward a half-trillion-dollar price tag in damages—to say nothing of the work and wages missed by shutting down entire cities. Buildings are the most visible marker of a place’s resilience after a disaster strikes. Surveying the catastrophic damage forces a difficult question: How can it be rebuilt better?

How a Norwegian Infrastructure Project is Using Virtual Reality to Improve Public Buy-In

This article was originally published by Aurodesk's Redshift publication as "Norwegian Rail Project Adopts Immersive Design for Public Engagement and Buy-in."

For a disruptive, 10-kilometer-long rail project that won’t even break ground until 2019, public officials and local residents of Moss, just south of Oslo, Norway, have been given an unusually vivid preview that, in the past, only the designers would have seen at this stage.

“We set up a showroom in the city where the public can come to view the project in a theater setting, and the feedback has been quite nice,” says Hans Petter Sjøen, facility management coordinator for Bane NOR, the year-old, state-owned company responsible for developing, operating, and maintaining the Norwegian national railway infrastructure. “Project members also have been receptive. They tell us that they have seen dimensions on the big screen that they did not see in person.”

Architectural Upcycling: 3 Materials That Turn Trash Into Low-Cost Construction Elements

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Architectural Upcycling Builds Earth’s Better Future Out of Trash."

Contemporary designers are recycling waste materials into useable and well-crafted objects, and it’s easy to get the impression that this burgeoning realm of fabrication is destined only for the craft fair. A quick survey of Blaine Brownell’s new guide Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine Our Future turns up a half-dozen Etsy-ready art and furniture curios. There’s jewelry made from coffee grounds, bowls made from plastic bags, and a chair made from artichoke thistle fibers (the “Artichair”).

But these items don’t demonstrate the necessary capacity for heavy lifting and mass-market applicability for an age of climate change and dwindling resources. To grasp the kind of architectural upcycling that can divert trash from landfills and carbon from the atmosphere on a mass scale, it pays to step out of the design gallery and into the laboratory, where architects are inventing a new breed of modular building materials.

How One Concrete Manufacturer Helps Architects Reduce Project Costs With An In-House Design Team

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Realizing Architectural Dreams Through Design-Assist and Precast Concrete."

Ancient Romans mixed lime and volcanic rock to form a mortar, a precursor to modern reinforced concrete. This made engineering marvels like Rome’s Colosseum possible—still standing more than 2,000 years after its construction.

Today, this versatile material is evolving further: Precast concrete, which is formed and cured in factories before being installed onsite, is bringing about a new wave of architecture that streamlines the building process while reaching toward big, complex ideas.

"X-Ray Vision" Headset Allows Architects to See Under the Surface of Construction Sites

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Augmented Reality in Construction Lets You See Through Walls."

Imagine you’re part of a crew constructing a new office building: Midway through the process, you’re on-site, inspecting the installation of HVAC systems. You put on a funny-looking construction helmet and step out of the service elevator. As you look up, there’s a drop ceiling being installed, but you want to know what’s going on behind it.

Through the visor on your helmet, you pull up the Building Information Model (BIM), which is instantly projected across your field of vision. There are heating ducts, water pipes, and electrical boxes, moving and shifting with your point of view as you walk along the corridors. Peel back layers of the model to see the building’s steel structure, insulation, and material finishes. It’s like having comic book-style X-ray vision—and soon, it could be a reality on a construction site near you.

How Starbucks Uses BIM and VR to Bring Local Spirit to its Japan Locations

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Starbucks Japan Pursues a Local Flair Through Design in BIM and VR."

It’s been 20 years since Starbucks opened its first shop in Japan, bringing a new paradigm to the country’s coffee shop culture—and creating a new, appealing “third place” option between home and work or school.

Notably, almost all of Japan’s 1,245 shops—across all 47 prefectures—are directly run by the parent company. As such, they are planned by Starbucks designers who, instead of settling for standardized designs for all locations, have worked diligently to incorporate features expressing regional, historical contexts and the lifestyles of locals—in short, to appeal specifically to the Japanese market.

7 Ways Architects Can Work Toward Carbon Neutral Buildings by 2030

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "7 Tactics for Meeting the Architecture 2030 Challenge and Beyond."

As the impacts of global climate change escalate, forward-thinking architecture firms have committed to being part of the solution. Increasingly, these firms are signing on to the 2030 Challenge and American Institute of Architects’ supporting initiative, AIA 2030 Commitment, which provide a framework to reduce fossil-fuel dependence and make all buildings, developments, and major renovations carbon neutral by 2030.

The 2030 Challenge has been adopted by 80 percent of the top 10 and 65 percent of the top 20 architecture, engineering, and planning firms in the United States, as well as many state and local government agencies. Among these are Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (EDR), a New Orleans–based architecture and planning firm; HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering, and planning firm; and CTA Architects Engineers, an integrated design, engineering, and architecture firm with offices throughout the Western United States and Canada. Here, five professionals from EDR, HOK, and CTA share seven key tactics they’ve employed to move toward the 2030 target—and a sustainable future for the planet.